By Dianna Mazzone
Updated Oct 15, 2015 @ 3:30 pm
Caught Cold
Credit: J Muckle

Blame the change of seasons or the overzealous air conditioner in your office—either way, you’ve somehow found yourself nursing a cold. While there's no real insta-fix, these home remedies and lifestyle tweaks might ease your sniffles and symptoms.

Drink Wisely
When your system is compromised with a cold, it’s extra important to stay hydrated, says Dr. Robert Huizenga, associate professor of clinical medicine at UCLA. “Whatever your normal water intake is, double it.” And what you don’t drink is just as important as what you do: “Avoid alcohol, as it puts a strain on your already-weakened immune system,” he says.

Pop a Pill
A complete cure for the common cold it is not, but, “some studies suggest zinc, if taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms in otherwise healthy people,” says Dr. Huizenga. The easiest method of ingesting the mineral? Pop a zinc lozenge—available at most drugstores—whenever you catch yourself sniffling.

Pencil in a Nap
In the early stages of a cold, an extra one or two hours of sleep can do wonders, says Dr. Huizenga. Resting up gives your body—and most importantly, your immune system—the chance to recharge, helping you to kick symptoms to the curb.

Steam Clean
You know how steaming your face loosens the gunk from your pores? The same principle applies to the icky stuff clogging your nasal passages. We’ve experienced serious relief after a hot shower—just make sure to have a box of tissues at the ready.